The following history of Windsor Township is taken from the book: History of York County, Pennsylvania. From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, by John Gibson:
A PETITION was presented to the court at York in 1757, signed by John Wright, Jr., and others, asking that “Hallam Township be divided by a line on Stony Ridge, running across the valley to the next ridge of hills on the south side of Grist Creek Valley, and also eastward along the last named ridge to the river Susquehanna.”
The above mentioned line formed the northern and eastern boundary of the new township of York, which then included what is now Windsor, Lower Windsor, York and a portion of Spring Garden. York Township, thus formed, was very large; consequently, in 1758 the following petition was presented at the April session of court: “We, your humble petitioners, hereby state that when the Townships of York and Hallam were in one, a division line was obtained which did not prove convenient or satisfactory; therefore we request that commissioners be appointed by your worshipfuls to lay off the new township.” The presiding justice, Thomas Armor, then appointed John Shultz, John Schyrack, Christian Shank and Michael Bart, to view and run the boundary lines, which, according to their confirmed report at the next session of court, was as follows:
Beginning at the plantation of Peter Peterman, thence with the road to David Hunter’s, thence with the same to Shrewsbury Township (now Springfield and Hopewell), thence with the same township and the township of Chanceford to the Susquehanna, and up the same to Hallam Township, thence along the middle of that ridge of hills to Peter Peterman’s plantation and place of beginning; which last described township is to be called by the name of Windsor.
The township thus described constituted what is now Windsor and Lower Windsor, which formed one district for nearly 100 years. Upon the erection of Lower Windsor in 1838, the limits were contracted to its present area. The beautiful and historic name “Windsor” was doubtless suggested by Thomas Armor, a man of great force of character, and who was then a large land owner.
Emanuel’s Lutheran and Reformed Church, familiarly known as “Frysville church,” is located in the southern part of Windsor, and according to the deed and records, was founded March 28, 1771. The surrounding land was owned by Conrad Fry, an early settler, who on the date mentioned deeded a church lot containing one and a half acres, for 5 shillings, to Jacob Segner, Adam Heindel, Jacob Ruby and Stephen Slifer, in trust for the “Lutheran and Presbyterian congregations.” (At an early date the German Reformed Church was thought to be the same as the Presbyterian, except that the worship of the former was conducted in the German language.) A log church was first built. The spaces between the logs were “chunked,” and had no outside plastering, according to the custom of those times. The gable end and window frames were painted red. The door and inside were painted white. The church was heated by a heavy plated stove, long enough to receive cordwood full length. From the boxed door-sill to the floor inside was a step of unusual height, over which full grown persons could step without much difficulty, while the children delighted to jump from the door-sill down on the floor inside. About 1820 the building was much improved. It was made higher, weather-boarded, an end gallery added, and used until 1852, when the present brick church was built, about three hundred yards from the site of the first building. Some of the land surrounding the present church was used as a burying ground as early as 1745. Some of it was deeded by M. Deis to Simon Anstine, Peter Steffy, Peter Lefever, Peter Schmuck and Conrad Fox, in trust for the two congregations. In 1884 two and one-fourth acres adjoining were purchased from Henry Stein. The church was remodeled in 1884 and was recently rededicated. The names of all Reformed ministers who have served here cannot be given. Revs. Adam Ettinger, C. Becker, Jacob Scholl, Jacob Moyer, H. Habilston, J. Forscht, John Reinika, William F. Vandersloot, William A. Good, David Bossler, R. Smith, E. G. Williams and A. Wanner, D. D. The last named took charge of the congregation April 1, 1882.
Zion United Brethren Church is located near Springvale. In the absence of records, it is difficult to give exact dates, yet it is known by the oldest members of the church, that as early as 1820 such of the fathers of the denomination as Rev. John Neidig, Christian Newcomer,
John Schneider, Samuel Huber, William Brown, John Kroch and others preached in houses and barns of the neighborhood of the above named house of worship. A quarterly conference held in 1843, appointed Adam Stabley, Adam Strayer and Frederick Grove a board of trustees, under whose administration that year was built the first church of the United Brethren in Christ in York County on the lands of Adam Stabley; Rev. John Russell, then presiding elder, dedicated this church, assisted by Rev. Christian Crider, then preacher in charge of the circuit. The present beautiful church was built in 1881; Rev. Geo. W. Lightner was then the preacher in charge. Jonathan Smiech, Jacob Stabley, John Stabley, John Seitz and John Neff were trustees. Rev. J. C. Smith of York officiated when corner-stone was laid. Rev. Ezekiel Light of Lebanon, Penn., dedicated the church. Rev. J. C. Smith of York is present pastor (1885). The pastors before him have been Christian S. Crider, Henry Greenblade, J. S. Wentz, Tobias Crider, W. H. Craumer, J. H. Young, Peter Carl, A. H. Rice, Samuel Enterline, Isaac Coomes, W. B. Raber, Jesse Cline, and L. Kohr. Church membership is seventy-two; number of pupils in Sunday school is seventy-five; superintended by Mr. Cramer.
Bethlehem Church – A class was formed in the vicinity where this church is, about the year 1835; services were held in the private houses of the members very frequently in the dwelling of Daniel Oberdorf, Sr., now deceased. The organization was frequently called “Oberdorf’s
Class.” Bishop Seymour and Rev. G. Dunlap were among the clergymen who ministered to the spiritual wants of the first members.
A church long known as the “stone pile” was built in 1853, and dedicated by Rev. Philip Wagner, P. E., March 16, 1854. Rev. George Dellinger was the preacher. The title given was “The New Bethlehem Evangelical Church of Windsor Township.” John Landis, who subsequently moved to Ohio, gave the land. The trustees then were Daniel Oberdorf, Sr., Joseph Strayer and Aaron Snyder. Revs. Bennington, Wilson, Zulauf, H. A. Stoke, M. J. Carrothers, Z. Hornberger, A. Longsdorf and A. Krause preached in the first building. In 1871, the second church was built, and was dedicated by Rev. Swengel of York. The trustees then were Barnitz Knisley, Samuel
Barshinger and Joseph Strayer. The senior pastors who have officiated in the new building have been Revs. Manbeck, H. Conrad, S. Aurand, A. Yearick and H. N. Greninger. The junior pastors have been Revs. A. W. Shenberger, Lilly, Brownmiller, D. Kline, G. Carrothers, H. W. Gross, C.
W. Finkbinder, C. H. Goodling, M. J. Snyder and L. E. Crumbling. The class leaders are Benjamin Craley and Daniel Oberdorf. The membership is forty-five. The Sunday-school was organized March 16, 1854, with eight teachers and seventy-four pupils and has been kept up since.
Union Church – This church is located near Windsorville. Rev. Charles Stabley of the United Brethren in Christ organized the first class. For many years the preaching was held in the house of Michael Heindel, Sr. In 1853 the present brick church was built, the first trustees were Michael Heindel, Michael Anstine and Jacob Allison. Rev. J. C. Smith, of York, was the pastor in 1885. The previous pastors were the same as at Zion Church. Trustees in 1885 are John Slenker, G. W. Gable and J. Flinchbaugh; church membership thirty-five; Sunday school, sixty pupils; G. W. Gable, superintendent.
Windsor Bethel – This church is located about a mile north of Windsorville. The congregation that worships here is a part of the “Lower York Mission” of the Church of God, it being the only building on this denomination in the lower end of York County. The sect to which it belongs is an order of Baptists, and originated in Lancaster, Penn. in 1830, under the leadership of Rev. John Winebrenner. For about twenty years preaching in Windsor was held in the house of Daniel Holtzinger and Gotlieb Barley. The first visiting clergyman, Rev. Keller, preached several times and baptized some members. During the early history of this denomination in Windsor, the preaching was supplied by ministers of the West York Circuit from Goldsboro. The church was built in 1876, at a cost of $1,400, and was dedicated by Rev. John Weishampel of Lancaster the same year. The clergymen, who have served since that time are Revs. Stoneseifer, Hackenberger, Hiss, Albert, Long and Still. Samuel E. Herman of Red Lion is the present pastor. The membership is thirty.
Locust Grove Church – The Reformed church by this name was built in 1866, at a cost of $1,500; much of material and work were voluntarily contributed by generous persons. The building committee were Daniel Kaltrieder, J. W. Landis and D. Armold. The congregation was organized in 1874 with thirteen members by Rev. R. Rahauser. He was succeeded by Rev. E. G. William. In the spring of 1884, by order of Classis, Rev. A. Wanner, D. D., became the supply. The Sunday-
school now kept in the church was organized in 1866 with 125 pupils and teachers. J. W. Landis has for many years been superintendent. The congregation has about thirty members.
The names of the fourteen schools of Windsor are as follows: Diehl’s, Cross’, (Raubs), Anstine’s, Frysville, Cedar Hill, Gehley’s, Wambaugh’s, Brillhart’s, Tyson’s, Miller’s, Grove’s, East End, Smalls’ and Fairview. The members of the school board during the past year were David I. Witmer, president; J. T. Flinchbach, secretary; William Flinchbach, treasurer; Solomon Frey, David S. Smith and Daniel K. Anstine. Joel Kauffman of this township has taught school twenty-seven years. J. T. Flinchbaugh, now a member of the board, and Amos Hengst, a merchant, taught many years.
Leber’s tannery is located at the extreme lower end of the town along the “head of Kreutz Creek.” Henry Leber, father of Nathaniel Leber, purchased the property in 1824, of John Kauffelt, who for many years before conducted the same business. Charles A. Leber is now the
proprietor. There are two other tanneries in this township in operation, one owned by Daniel Stine and the other by D. W. Gehly. Amos Hengst has for a number of years conducted a store of general merchandise near the center of Windsor.
One of the few woolen factories of this county now in existence is owned by Daniel L. Gehly of Windsor; as a fulling-mill it has been run since 1780, or possibly earlier. Large quantities of the “linsey-woolsey” of olden times was manufactured here before cloths, flannels, cassimeres and casinets were common in this country. John C. Gehly, a son of the owner, is the present proprietor. The woolen factory department was started in 1851. A large business is now carried on at this place. Stocking yarn, flannels, blankets, cloths, satinets and carpets are made in considerable quantities.
Windsor, as well as its neighbors, York, Hellam and Lower Windsor, has valuable veins of iron ore. Samuel Hengst’s bank was opened about twelve years ago, and 3,050 tons of brown hematite taken out. Moser’s new bank, near Longstown, was opened in 1866 by Mr. Myers of Marietta, and considerable buff limonite secured. Near the York and Windsor line is Moser’s old bank, four miles southeast of York. It was opened about sixty years ago by the York Furnace Company, and
worked second by John A. Wright & Co., third by Schoenberger, Musselman & Co., in 1850; fourth by Musselman & Sons. Since 1850 there were 42,090 tons of lump and wash ore obtained from this bank and reduced in the Musselman Furnace at Marietta. The bank is nearly 300 yards long, and the excavation of great size. The best ore here makes forty per cent metallic iron.
What is known as Ore Valley, extending into York Township, has yielded ore in large quantities at different places.